The Pre-Theology Program provides college graduates newly admitted to Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary with adequate time to make a transition from secular to formational life, and to orient themselves to seminary living. The Program combines spiritual formation and intellectual formation with experiences in community living and apostolic service. As part of the Theology Division, the Pre-Theology Program assists seminarians in their vocational awareness and prepares them for entrance into graduate studies. Its goal is to support each seminarian in his development as a Christian believer who is called to the priesthood. The Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Formation Program is intended to aid the seminarian as he integrates the development of the various aspects of his life as elaborated in Pope John Paul II’s exhortation, Pastores Dabo Vobis, viz., the human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual (cf. The Program of Priestly Formation, Fifth edition, § 70).
To ensure the pre-theologian’s progress in the above areas, he meets regularly with his formation advisor. These meetings have the same format and purpose as those of the general program of the College Division and Theology Division. The seminarians attend weekly conferences given by members of the Formation Committee. The subject matter, however, is oriented toward the specific goals of the Pre-Theology Program. Although the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary program in all its levels concentrates on the development of a sense of fraternity and of an appreciation of the wholesome relationships that should be found among seminarians and priests, this facet of the program is particularly stressed in the Pre-Theology Program. It is hoped that seminarians realize the necessity of such relationships to one’s vocational discernment and one’s own psychological development.
The Pre-Theology Candidate is, expected to present himself in an age-appropriate manner and engage the program of Priestly Formation in a way consistent with the level of maturity and experience he has gained through his previous education and life experience. Growth in self-awareness and sound personal identity are the hallmarks of a healthy personality that establishes a secure basis for the spiritual life. Such growth may be demonstrated by: sound prudential judgment; sense of responsibility and personal initiative; a capacity for courageous and decisive leadership; an ability to establish and maintain wholesome friendships; and an ability to work in a collaborative, professional manner with women and men, foregoing self-interests in favor of cooperative effort for the common good. (PPF § 86)